When England players step out for the first match of the Fifa World Cup 2022 in Qatar on 21 November, Alison Patterson will be hoping they have read her personal letter asking them to pay tribute to her daughter.
Lauren Patterson was raped and stabbed to death in Qatar in October 2013. Her charred remains were found near a farm the days after she was last seen alive at a nightclub in Doha where she was a primary school teacher. Prior to moving to Qatar, Lauren had worked for St George’s International School in Hamm from 2008 to 2011. She was just 24 at the time of her death.
A man convicted of her murder, Badr Hashim Khamis Abdallah al-Jabr, was set to face the death penalty, but a court in Qatar ended up commuting that sentence to ten years in jail. A Qatari Appeals Court later halved the sentence to just five years. The Patterson family were offered £200,000 in compensation. Alison Patterson, who campaigned tirelessly to get justice for her daughter, said the family had been “completely failed” by the Qatar legal system.
Appeal to make L-shape after scoring
Offering her congratulations to the players and Southgate for being chosen to represent England at the World Cup, Alison Patterson then wrote: “I am hoping that by you reading this letter you will think of my daughter and the many other victims who have been murdered in Qatar before you play for your country.”
According to the Daily Mail, Patterson has appealed to the players to make an L-shape with their hands if they score a goal or celebrate winning a match. “It would honour Lauren and mean so much,” she is cited as saying.
David Beckham criticised
Last December Alison Patterson slammed David Beckham’s decision to become an ambassador for the Qatar at the World Cup and beyond in a deal reportedly worth £150 over ten years.
Cited in Kent Online, the local media outlet for the county in which the Patterson family lived and where Lauren grew up, Alison Patterson said that seeing Beckham become a face for the country “pushed me personally over the edge.” She questioned the former England, Manchester United and Real Madrid star and his PR company. “Surely someone taking on a role like that, with a country like that, must know about some of the horrid things that happen there.”
St George’s has paid it own tribute to the former teacher. In 2014 the school planted a tree in her memory. The Friends of St George’s then raised €5,100 through community events so that by 2018, with a similar sum matched by the Awesome Cause Foundation, they could contribute to the construction of a permanent, three-classroom block at what is now called the Patterson Memorial School in the village of Kabawaala in Uganda.